Swanton baseball was able to finish a league game on Thursday, scoring a pair of runs in the bottom of the first, then continuing to add on as the game progressed in what ended up being a 6-2 NWOAL win over Liberty Center.
A Gunnar Oakes shot into the gap plated the first Bulldog run as Roman Epley scored from first to make it 1-0. They then got a two-strike knock to left field off the bat of Michael Lawniczak which scored Oakes to put them ahead 2-0 after one.
In the home half of the third, Zach Zawodni got the Bulldog offense started with a leadoff walk. He would later find his way to third by way of a steal and a wild pitch, where Duyane Goings’ sacrifice fly scored him to give them a three-run cushion.
Swanton made a rare defensive play in the next half inning.
Zeb Hoffman and Cameron Henneman led off Liberty Center’s half of the fourth with singles to put runners on first and second. However, the next batter lined out back to Epley on the mound, starting a 1-3-4 triple play which ended the inning.
“I don’t know if they knew exactly what to do. It’s not an every day thing,” said Swanton coach Tim McCarthy of the triple play. “But, I mean it was big. We’re only up I think two (or) three to nothing at the time. And they had (runners on) first and second with nobody out. They showed bunt a couple times, so I thought maybe they’d bunt to try and move the runners. Roman made a really nice play jumping off the mound and catching that one before it hit the ground.”
The Dogs got a sacrifice fly from Josh Adcock with the bases full in the bottom of the inning, scoring Epley to increase their lead to 4-0 through four.
Liberty Center finally dented the scoreboard in the top of the sixth. Connor Sonnenberg singled, then Jarrett Krugh followed with a walk, forcing Epley out of the game in favor of Zach Bloom. However, the Tigers took advantage of the situation as Hoffman belted a two-run double, trimming the Bulldog lead to 4-2.
Defense was a key for Swanton the entire game and they did not disappoint in the sixth.
With the Tigers still threatening, Henneman singled, but Hoffman was caught in a rundown between third and home, and Lawniczak tagged him out saving a run.
They then got consecutive ground outs to the first baseman Adcock, who made many plays on the day.
“He made three unbelievable picks at first,” said McCarthy of Adcock. “All that (could have) scored runs. Sometimes multiple runs. He’s been really good defensively.”
Adcock also added an RBI in the bottom of the inning, while Lawniczak came home on a wild pitch for the final runs of the game.
Epley was charged with the two runs in five full innings of work to pick up the win on the mound. He allowed six hits and struck out three batters.
Bloom got the final three outs of the sixth and had a scoreless seventh to seal the deal.
“I thought Roman threw really well. I thought he might of ran out of gas a little bit. He said he felt good. So I tried to stretch him a little bit longer,” said McCarthy.
“Zach does a really nice job for us coming in relief. So I know what I’ve got with him. I can throw him in some tough situations. He always seems to find his way out of it.”
On offense, Oakes went 2 for 3 with a walk and an RBI. Adcock had a pair of RBIs, while Lawniczak reached base four times and added an RBI as well.
Swanton (9-1) would split a home doubleheader against Rossford (8-3) on Saturday. They won game one 5-1, then dropped game two by a final of 5-2 for their first blemish on the season.
Dogs trail Wauseon when lightning halts play
Mother Nature refused to cooperate last Monday as the Swanton and Wauseon NWOAL baseball game at Swanton was stopped with one out to get in the bottom of the fifth and the Indians leading 2-1. Since they could not get through the fifth in light of the persistent lightning and rain, per OHSAA rules, they will have to finish out the rest of the game at a later date.
No reschedule date has been determined.
Swanton grabbed the early lead with a run in the home half of the first, but it was Wauseon who cashed in late.
Justus Chapa led off the top of the fifth with a single, then was moved to second on Eric Parker’s sacrifice bunt. Carter Bzovi followed with a single, and he proceeded to steal second, putting both him and Chapa in scoring position.
Swanton then filled the bases with Indians when Everett Bueter was hit by a pitch. An error from the Dogs allowed Brooks Gype to reach, scoring Chapa to tie the game. CJ Moser was also hit by a pitch to force in another run and give Wauseon the 2-1 lead.
However, Swanton hurler Noah Johnston got the next two batters to pop out to avoid further damage. Both he and Bzovi started the game and were still on the mound in the fifth.
Bzovi fanned both Xavier Williams and Roman Epley to get things going in the bottom of the fifth, but the rain and lightning began during his duel with Hunter Mix.
The Bulldogs used a couple of wild pitches to push a run across the board in their first at bat.
First it was Mix drawing a one-out walk, followed by a base on balls delivered to Gunnar Oakes, then both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Another errant pitch scored Mix, giving the Dogs a 1-0 lead with only one down in the inning.
Michael Lawniczak followed with a grounder to third that perhaps could have scored Oakes, but a slight hesitation gave the third baseman, Chapa, enough time to deliver the ball home and get Oakes who was sliding.
The next Bulldog batter grounded out to end the inning.
Swanton had a chance for more runs in the home half of the third.
Epley was hit by a pitch and Mix walked with one down in the frame, then both moved up a base on a double steal. After a strikeout, the Indians chose to intentionally walk Lawniczak which loaded the bases. But, Bzovi got a ground ball to end the threat.
Reach Max Householder at 419-335-2010